There is nothing quite like donning comfy shoes and getting out for a breath of fresh air and a hike away from the city’s urban sprawl. Little Steps Asia has done just that and set off on foot to discover some of the best trails with gloriously tasty restaurants, local cafés, and even a picnic alternative at the end to celebrate your steps walked.
Want more fun hikes with the kids?
If you want a seriously good hike through urban landscapes, along the shores of Hebe Haven, and through the verdant jungle-clad Sai Kung Hills, go all the way to That Yellow House. You can walk along the Wong Keng Tsai, Wilson Trail, and the Ho Chung River. At almost four hours and 16 kilometers, the walk is not for the faint-hearted, so you could always start at The Hebe Haven Pier and walk the rest of the way. At That Yellow House, you'll be welcomed by the French and Malaysian husband and wife team David and Juliana. They have a love affair of exceptional wines (David has just been certified in Level 3 WSET - Wine and Spirit Education Trust), good food, and each other. Their signature dish is Tok & Wan's Rendang Daging - grass-fed beef chuck braised in aromatic spices, chilies, lemongrass, turmeric leaves, and coconut milk. That Yellow House is nestled amidst the hills in an enclave. It promises beautiful sunsets, so make sure that this is an afternoon walk.
That Yellow House, Sai Kung Hills, Hong Kong, +852 9106 4020, https://www.thatyellowhouse.com/
The Tung O Ancient Trail is a fascinating juxtaposition between new and old, urban and country, East and West, and everything in between. The trail is the original path that the villagers would take before the urbanization of Tung Chung. The majority of the path is paved and a relatively easy walk with pitstops to little village stores for essentials. You'll spot rare small Chinese settlements along the way; it's like stepping back in time. Spend some time exploring the village of Tai O before heading to the eponymous glass-roofed restaurant on the first floor of the Heritage Hotel. The restaurant is named after the guard tower, where marine police safeguarded against pirate activities. Tai O Lookout is a colonial-inspired restaurant with carved wood furniture once belonging to the China Tee Club. Tai O is also a platform to showcase the ingenious creations by Hong Kong artists. You'll expect delicious dishes such as their homemade shrimp paste marinated pork chop bun and their popular cheesecake lightly flavored with mountain begonia.
Tai O Lookout, Shek Tsai Po Street, Tai O, Lantau Island, +852 2985 8383, email@example.com, https://www.taioheritagehotel.com/en/dining/tai-o-lookout/
If you seek a coastal adventure, look no further than heading to One-Thirty One in the northern part of the Sai Kung Peninsula. Three Fathoms Cove is a pretty coastal inlet between Sai Kung West Country Park and Ma On Shan. You’ll hike through grassy knolls, beautiful coastal scenery, centuries-old mangroves, and empathetically restored Hakka Village. Unusually, you'll be lucky not to see another soul! One-Thirty One is evocative of a European country retreat. The Mediterranean-style building is owned by UK-born fashion buyer, food creator, and animal lover Kim Chung. She studied art at Chelsea College of Arts and later culinary arts at Leiths School of Food & Wine in London. Kim encourages hikers to bring their furry friends with them at weekends so that you can all enjoy the panoramic views of Sai Kung and the lawns that run down to the sea. One-Thirty One has a beautifully balanced contemporary French menu that's paired with some exquisite wines. If you don't fancy walking home, you can always take advantage of their helicopter landing pad or yachting pier.
Yau Ley is a family-run seafood restaurant that is popular with residents and tourists. The local fishermen bring their fresh daily hauls to the chefs. They'll cook you tender deep-fried squid, crispy calamari, fragrantly curried crab, and deliciously cooked lobster, clams, and prawns. There are several ways to arrive at the restaurant. Quite simply, you can hike, or if you fancy a fun excursion, you can hire a traditional boat from Sai Kung Pier. The 45-minute ride will take you past Tai She Wan, Kau Sai Chau, Wong Yi Chau, and the High Island Reservoir. Alternatively, hire a speedboat for an exhilarating journey. The restaurant is also accessible by car, which takes you via the Tin Hau Temple. The restaurant is right on the beach, so make sure to bring buckets and spades for the kids.
Yau Ley Seafood Restaurant, Sha Kiu Tau, High Island, Sai Kung, +852 2791 1822, http://www.yauleyseafood.com.hk/
If you fancy no more than an energetic amble for a couple of hours, the trail from Violet Hill to Repulse Bay could be the perfect Saturday afternoon hike. You’ll start in the Tai Tam Country Park, a popular place for hikers. As you walk, the views of the city’s skyscrapers will change into vistas of rolling hills and the South China Sea. There’s a slight incline, so you will feel like you’ve completed a workout and earned lunch or an early dinner. Sip Song is a delightfully casual Thai eatery that mimics island living in southern Thailand and the bustling weekend street markets. The Pulse is a shoreside promenade dotted with open-fronted restaurants overlooking Repulse Bay. Sip Song means ‘12’ in Thai. It’s typically the number of ingredients needed to create any Thai classic. Try the tangy yum woon sen, a glass noodle salad with seafood, tom yum gong, everyone’s favorite shrimp hot and sour soup, or a traditional pad Thai. Finish off with a well-earned coconut ice cream or a nip of Hong Thong whiskey for the journey back.
Choose the three-hour hike from Park View to Quarry Bay. Quarry Bay Park is in the expansive Eastern District of the city and lies between the waterfront and the Tai Koo Shing housing estate. Mr and Mrs Fox is a multi-story plant-filled experience and home to artworks by up-and-coming artists, hand-crafted cocktails, and delicious European dishes. Mrs Fox welcomes daytime workers from Taikoo Place into the urban chic snack café. Upstairs, Mr Fox serves creative, beautifully presented plates in the cool industrial-vibe restaurant. Try the marinated fish with crispy seaweed crackers, the spectacular fish pie with scallops, fish, muscles, shrimp, octopus, and dill. For dessert, share their flambeed baked Alaska with vanilla ice cream, toffee, and chocolate crunch. For lovers of all things artisan, there are local craft beers, an extensive gin menu, and signature cocktails like Tango Jungle, shaken with Amaro Montenegro, Tito’s vodka, elderflower liqueur, pineapple juice, and spice.
Mr and Mrs Fox, 23 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay, +852 26978500, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.easthotels.com/en/hongkong/restaurants-and-bars/mr-and-mrs-fox/
The hike to Mui Wo from Discovery Bay is beautiful, camera and four-legged hound-friendly. The leisurely hike can take anywhere between two and four hours, depending on how often you stop for coffee. Admire the views or go off the beaten track to explore old fishing villages, banana plantations, small working farms, and even a monastery. You'll take a long, meandering descent onto Mui Wo beach that affords you expansive views of the coastline and Hong Kong's surrounding islands. Beachside China Beach Club has the best and most enviable views across Silvermine Bay. The club serves up delicious Mediterranean cuisine and feasty barbeques from the rooftop terrace. The house's specialty is their rib-eye and king prawn surf and turf, the homestyle Greek island moussaka washed down with a cold beer or two-for-one cocktail.
China Beach Club, 18 Tung Wan Tau Road, Silvermine Bay Beach, Mui Wo, +852 2983 8931
Hong Kong’s tallest mountain is worth the climb, at least once in a lifetime. The Tai Mo Shan is accessible from the cloud-piercing MacLehose Trail, which takes you, quite literally, above cloud level at the 1 kilometer (almost) summit. The only decision you have to make is, do you eat before or after the trek? There is a delightful teahouse at the base of the mountain called Duen Kee, and it's perfect for authentic dim sum. The teahouse is fringed with fields of watercress and fills up with early hikers and elderly birdkeepers. It’s a perfect place to witness glorious and sadly unappreciated nature while enjoying traditional homemade food. Inside, guests help themselves from the towers of bamboo steamers containing Chinese sausage buns, pork and shrimp dumplings, glutinous rice filled with chicken wrapped in lotus leaves, and even steamed brown sugar cake and fluffy egg custard dumplings. The glorious al fresco dining is simple, clean, and fresh and extends onto the neighbor's terrace. This is an old-school adventure. Whether you make it up the mountain remains to be seen.
Duen Kee, Tsuen Wan, Route Twisk, +852 2490 5246
The Genuine Lamma Hilton Fishing Village Restaurant has been around for well over half a century and probably hasn’t changed much. The family-run restaurant is as local as they come and is a true hidden gem. Located on the slightly timeworn side of Lamma Island and overlooking the sea, you can expect consistently superb deep-fried squid with fiery chili and crispy spring onions. There is a daily catch-of-the-day, and it's cooked depending on the fish. There are a couple of lovely walks that lead you to this traditional eatery. Sham Wan beach is one of the increasingly rare sites which the endangered green turtle comes to nest. It’s a site of scientific interest, monitored and closed between 1 April and 31 October each year to protect the dwindling population of the turtle. You can also hike the Sok Kwu Wan circular route taking you past abandoned Chow clan houses that are magically overgrown, if not rather eerie.
Genuine Lamma Hilton Fishing Village Restaurant, Lot 584 DD. 10, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island, +852 2982 8220
Last but not least we are taking you so rural, you'll have to take a picnic. Tom Burney, The Invisible Kitchen's chef, will create a healthy picnic basket full of sustainable and organic produce, including canapes, sandwiches, skewers, artisan cheeses, and cured meats and desserts. He will only use locally sourced, ethically farmed produce in his dishes. Now that lunch is sorted, you can head off into the wilderness and explore an arrange of beaches along a gorgeous stretch of coast. You can hike for a day or consider spending an entire weekend and savor the luxury of nature. Jump in a taxi (Uber is not allowed into the park) and head to Sai Kung Country Park and the small town of Sai Kung. From here, you can take a speedboat to Sai Wan or Ham Tin beaches – these are the most popular bays and the only ones with any facilities. If you want remote, continue over the cliffs to Tai Wan and Tung Wan.